Skip to main content

Disneyland Dream

Movies Preview

Disneyland Dream

Published 1956

In July 1956, the five-member Barstow family of Wethersfield, Connecticut, won a free trip to newly-opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in a nationwide contest. This 30-minute amateur documentary film tells the fabulous story of their fun-filled, dream-come-true, family travel adventure, filmed on the scene at Walt Disney's "Magic Kingdom" by Robbins Barstow.

In December 2008, "Disneyland Dream" was named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress.

In a 2011 sequel, Disneyland Dream Revisited, David, one of the three children in the original, visited Disneyland again to see what had changed in the intervening 56 years. Includes a cameo appearance by Steve Martin.

In a 2015 sequel, Disneyland Dream Revisited Again, all three children returned to Disneyland to relive their 1956 adventure.

Producer Robbins Barstow
Audio/Visual sound, color
Contact Information Daniel Barstow,


Reviewer: anet54 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2013
Subject: Wish I Could Go Back In Time...
This is an absolutely darling home movie and I only wish it were a whole lot longer! NOt only do you see Disneyland in its infancy, but you also get a glimpse of travel and leisure in 1956. Wonderful. Don't miss it.
Reviewer: DAYSTAR1244 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 18, 2012
Subject: WOW!
This really took me back. the first time I went to Disneyland was 1956, I was 12.
What a cool video and very well done. Thanks Barstow family.
Reviewer: BoopBoopaddoop - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 12, 2012
Subject: very intresting
Looks very intresting, i will watch the whole documentary, another time. I think it's great that we can download these short films.
Reviewer: deud - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2011
Subject: Utterly charming!
There must be some hardened cinics out there who can't enjoy the beauty and wonder of this family's real life vacation to a NEW disneyland.

I wouldn't change a thing.
Reviewer: former cast - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 13, 2011
Subject: Disneyland dream
As a former cast member of Walt's place as I call Disneyland I can say without doubt this same excitment happens everday at Disneyland.
Even locals can't wait to visit the Magic Kingdom. This movie was shot when I was about 6 months old. My Grandfather helped build Disneyland and always told my mother how amazing this place in the middle of no where was being build by Walt Disney. This movie proves that the America spirit having deep roots in our counrty is still alive and well. As Walt Disney said "Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world"
This movie proves Walt was right. There are more people with Walt Disney thinking than you realize, thank goodness.
Reviewer: wrateman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 15, 2010
Subject: Brought Back Memories
As a neighbor of the Barstows, the annual summer screening of this movie (and others) was always a lot of fun. Dr. Barstow would tack a sheet onto the back of his house and when it got dark, project.

Mrs. Barstow made popcorn and cookies, and served punch. As a youngster of single digit age, trying to figure out how they jumped backwards onto the diving board, or how that roll of tape created 'The End'...was fun. Nice to have the narration by Dr. Barstow in this version.
Reviewer: lasinlo - - November 14, 2010
Subject: RIP Robbins Barstow
Robbins Barstow (dad in movie) died Nov. 7, 2010.

His obituary can be seen online at the New York Times:
Reviewer: grammie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 7, 2009
Subject: Very Enjoyable
What wonderful memories! Looks like the dad must have had some film training, this is too good for random filming! I just love how the whole family participated in the fun!!
Reviewer: percboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 26, 2009
Subject: Yeah ...thats Steve
Reviewer: Mikie Dennis - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 11, 2009
Subject: Very cool
I am the age of Danny and went to Disneyland for the first time too in 1956.

I can remember how excited I was and how much I loved the place and this brings back all those memories.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

By the way, how is the family? What has become of you all?
Reviewer: pahool - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 25, 2009
Subject: Great vintage footage
And great narration. Brett209, do you know for sure that is Steve Martin? I know from his biography, Born Standing Up, that he did indeed work in that position at that time? But are you sure it's him and not some other young boy?
Reviewer: kjmaje - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 25, 2009
Subject: Thanks for sharing!
I find myself watching this film over and over again. As a fellow Nutmegger, it is fascinating to see what life was like in Connecticut in the mid 50's, and Disneyland as it was when it opened. I, too have dreams of winning a family trip to Disney World or Disneyland. Thanks for sharing your family adventure!
Reviewer: Old Movie Buff - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 22, 2009
Subject: Excellent!
Wonderful film - a great trip back in time to a time before the country was destroyed. Thanks for sharing.
Reviewer: Brett209 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 6, 2009
Subject: Early appearance by Steve Martin
This home movie also captures early footage of comedian Steve Martin at age 11 when he worked at Disneyland selling guidebooks from 1956-8.

Blink at you'll miss it, but it is at the 20:20 mark in the lower part of the frame. Martin appears walking from left to right in a top hat, vest and striped shirt.
Reviewer: Surfer Joe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 4, 2009
Subject: I Wanna Be A Barstow!
Just wonderful. Warm, charming, and historic. We all know what happened to Disneyland; I'd love to know how all the Barstows made out in the World Of Tomorrow.

Must be fun to have people clamoring for more of your home movies- this is just great stuff and I hope there's more. Looking forward to Space Age Barstows, Counter-culture Barstows, Disco Barstows, and Reagan Revolution Barstows.
Reviewer: topangapan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 31, 2008
Subject: warm and all-american
I'm glad this is being preserved.
Reviewer: marknyc - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 30, 2008
Subject: A national treasure?
Pretty typical home movie - does it really deserve to be included in the 2008 National Film Registry?
Reviewer: Antonio_NYC - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2008
Subject: Winner winner, chicken dinner!
Had I the ability to internet you a chicken dinner sir, I gladly would. Your film is the tops!
Reviewer: Rick Farmiloe - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2008
Subject: Fascinating and Historical
This is one of the coolest home movies I've ever seen. Mr. Barstow really makes the most out of his trip to Disneyland 50 years ago with his family. Great opportunity to see Disneyland and Southern California as it was back then. He even employs some fun camera tricks to add to the entertainment value. NOT to be missed!! Makes me hunger for more Adventures of the Barstows!!
Reviewer: LugosiRules - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2008
Subject: Great memories!
Excellent "home movie". This is probably one of the best I've seen on this site. Disneyland is for all who are young at heart!
Reviewer: daybird2 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 17, 2008
Subject: Best Thing Yet
This is about the best thing I have watched on the internet. Talk about memories... it sure brought them back for me! Walt Disney himself could not have narrated this any better. I felt like I was right there enjoying this vacation with the family on the film. Great work!
Reviewer: mharpASU - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 14, 2008
Subject: Interesting, sweet, and creative
Amazing footage that is very entertaining. Mr Barstow's humor and reflection make this one of the most interesting home movies I have seen. Some of the footage was shot so well it could have come right out of the Disney archives. Would make an interesting piece for a reflection on pop culture and the American experience of the past 50 years. Would be interesting to learn more about this typical American family.
Reviewer: Beth Gilligan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 18, 2008
Subject: Absolutely wonderful!
This is an absolute gem of a movie - it captures the era beautifully and brilliantly conveys the excitement surrounding the opening of Disneyland.
Reviewer: rgarrey - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 15, 2007
Subject: DisneyLand Dream
After viewing "Tarzan and the Rocky Gorge", I couldn't wait for the next Barstow video. Well I watched the Disneyland Dream and I wasn't disappointed. What a fabulous piece of American history. The great video footage matched with the modern narration gives us a look into a bygone day from the perspective of the average family. I felt like I was there with the Barstows on their West Coast Adventure. I give it "Two Thumbs Up"!
Reviewer: NotHerbert - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 12, 2007
Subject: Slice of Americana
This is a wonderful slice of '50s Americana, especially for anyone who has traveled as a family or BEEN to Disneyland (in many ways, it's the same place today, only with more lights!). A must watch.
Reviewer: Robbins Barstow - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 9, 2007
Subject: Disneyland Dream
Highly entertaining, personal account of what it was like for families to visit Walt Disney's "Magic Kingdom" half a century ago when it first opened in Anaheim, California. In today's world, it's good to remember what made it then "the happiest place on earth."
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 1,569
favorite 3
comment 0
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 26,107
favorite 28
comment 10
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 10 reviews )
Home Movies
eye 647
favorite 0
comment 0
Home Movies
eye 2,394
favorite 10
comment 3
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 3 reviews )
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 887
favorite 0
comment 0
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 852
favorite 1
comment 0
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 2,057
favorite 4
comment 0
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 1,454
favorite 3
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Home Movies
by Robbins Barstow
eye 2,195
favorite 5
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Home Movies
eye 839
favorite 0
comment 0